Sunday, February 1, 2009

Free Land: First Spring's Tale

From those who remember, Free Land, partial Saga transcribed:

With Olaf the Navigator seen to sail east by north and Bifrost seen upon that morn, it was then that Eric Three Lands, as Lawspeaker bestirred himself.  With Sachem Running Wolf and Grandmother Dawn Sparrow he made the Spring plans to see Great Sachem Waummennen. 'To Red Deer I must go and ensure that peace be had' that was Eric's tell, and those with him nodded as Harald Ironworker and Anders Woodmaster understood this need for greater peace and trade.

From that spoke Sachem Running Wolf 'Eric that is good and is a week by overland there and then back again, tis long.'  Eric Lawgiver looked to him nodding, 'If it be by overland, but long boat it be two days or one long from first glimmer to last spark and to that river of which you speak, around the lands and north shore of sound.'  Sachem furrowed his brown and was lost in thought, 'I had thought you would go as many, not as few.'

Harald look to Grandmother, 'Few Viking in to open trade and talk would be received well, is that not so Munin Dawn Sparrow?'  The old woman nodded, quick eyes darting from man to man. 'Boldness is in what you do, Eric, and small numbers of Viking are more than many other tribe in full.  That will not be believed until seen, but do not misguess that either, do I?'

'Dragon Prow and ship of stout hearts who come with open hands but ready fight if crossed is the Viking Way.  We are to live next to you, as we do at home, so must have peace amongst us or there will be no peace for all.'  Such was the case and it would be days, not weeks, to do the deed and have it done or undone as the Norns decree.  Yet ever the skein is shifted by the weft of quick mind and thought, and often threads placed unwell slide into new place without even a touch upon them.

With that all knew this would be good and Eric put Harald to ensuring to clearing minor disputes and Anders to oversee the needful works that need be done at water and on shore.  As the folks respected wood and iron, and knew these men well, so it would be easy to leave them to do these things and work with each other to help secure their new home.  While many would not like to think of old world come to plague them, all knew that twas best to secure central home for all then work outwards for each family and the Spring would be busy for all.

Already homes with frames and sod had taken shape, to protect most of such homes from wind and let them be ground cool all year around.  Oft-times the sod was not thick enough, but with cunning placement gentle slopes could give more than what just sod would allow.  Even with so little done, dirt paths had appeared from home to home and place to place from landing to forge to village and hard work was making this better even so that spring melt and rains would flow away from homes and to streams that went to bay.

So from hilltop a week further on, those who had the time saw the long boat leave with Eric, Running Wolf and Dawn Sparrow.  They looked backed and waved to show that they saw good seas ahead and then they lost the small spit of land that formed the bay behind them.  With young men who had made such passage before to help guide and four striplings seeking manhood this year, Eric went forward to meet with Great Sachem and secure their peace and trade. 'Why no oldersters, Eric Three Lands?' Sachem asked.

Eric smiled, and said to one, 'Luds who are the fiercest fighters you have seen?' he asked.  The lad looked up and smiled a gap-toothed smile, 'Teutonwalders they are the worst, Eric' and Eric slapped his back as they shipped oars and the wind took their sail.  'Too truth, is that,' said Eric, 'only the once for me, but I know whereof you speak.  And you, Thorven?'

Another lad, dark of hair looked to Eric, 'Tatars, fierce of horse and steppe, with bows that reach like the wind,' he said thinking deeply.  Eric looked to him, 'Trade route guard to the Byzantines?'  he asked and the boy nodded, 'Three times, once as guard two years past, but only for the wagon I was on.'  Eric nodded, 'Ever fierce from day and night and their ponies ride the wind and back again.  Lars Larson, what of you?'

'Hungars, Eric, although the march had us scrape up against a few others, the Hungars were quite vicious,'  he said taking out a skin tied shut with dried meat and this local corn called maize that had been powdered and fried as cakes.  Eric laid firm hand on his shoulder, 'Camp skirmisher on that?' he asked, and Lars only nodded, 'Hard to call you a boy then although still young. And you, Grim?' he asked the last stout lad.

'They were from Africa we never got their names in our town near the Gaels and Franks, but they came by ship and thought to raid Vikings and found 'tis not wise no matter day or night, sun or rain or moon.  They died well.' Eric closed his eyes, 'And so they should.  I've heard of those the Byzantines confront and there is no good there.  So, there it is, Running Wolf, boys of battle, guardsmen, defenders of hearth and home.  Now as Vikings they are to open trade and secure their homes anew.  Not all is fight and blood, but they are prepared for that as am I.'

The Sachem shivered as he remembered how Harald, Olaf and others, even girls, had told him of such battles they had heard of or been in, and he had troubles thinking of such large conflicts and then learn that so many were just skirmishes or raids to them.  They did live in what was to be known as Iron Times and his people were coming to respect this Iron so good with bows to bring down game that the points were valued highly.  And yet these people thought little of that and did far and much, much more with spear and axe, and seemed little afraid of arrows.

Travel that first day was good and saw them more than half-way to their destination.  They made arrival with those called Mohegans and Eric bid them well with their late day stop.  The Sachem Massamiot also called Lightning Eye amongst those who would know him, greeted all and hosted them and was a bit afrighted at the longboat until he saw that it held those not so strange to him.  He was told of these people by others, late in winter, but this was the first chance he had to see their leader and four of their near-men boys.

As part of the entertainment, Eric asked the boys to show some of what they could do, as they had done with the Wampanoag.  They had come prepared and took out wooden targets to demonstrate spear, knife and axe.  Whilst somewhat full from eating they could not put on a full show and they were tired from the day, still when one of the target boards cracked completely upon a spear hit from afar, they were very impressed and the boys ashamed at having destroyed yet another target.  From his few goods Eric did offer some arrowheads and one spearhead to the Sachem and bade any that would learn the arts of metal work to come and be hosted well.

With night enclosing Sachem Massamiot talked with Sachem Quessam known as Running Wolf, to hear at first how these new people were. 'They are strong, and proud and fierce, my Mohegan brother, and many did die opposing them from the Nauset until the waves would run with their blood.  I bade them peace not wanting such to slaughter mine, and to learn of their needs.  Well I did and settled with the Nauset, else I doubt we would be here speaking this night without help of one who can speak to the dead.'

The Mohegan leader nodded.  'Those are old boys?  I had thought them near full men, and yet Eric shows that is not the way of it.  Are the others more towards Eric in their cast?'  Sachem of the Wampanoag  replied, 'As strong or stronger, stouter, hard men and women, too, as I have seen those with spear and axe and sword.  Some of those are taking to the bow, too, and we make new arrows with their iron arrowheads.  They are here to stay, Lightning Eye, and these are but the first and yet larger than any single village in Wampanoag  lands.'

'None have attacked since the Nauset, is that the case?' Lightning Eye did ask. 'You have seen that target they used today?' and the Mohegan did nod, 'Their shields are stronger or better made to anticipate such things.  Rain arrows upon them and then find that they brush the shafts from those shields and await you with those spears, axes, knives and that long knife they call 'sword'.  I am sure they sleep with their weapons by their side.'  Sachem of the Mohegan's eyes widened, 'Weapon Spawn?'

'They are not and yet...'  Running Wolf looked into the star lit sky, '...they are born to fight.  Men, women, boys, girls.'  He espied Grandmother Sparrow and Grandmother Elk and they came to sit with the Sachems.  'We have been talking of the things we have known and heard,' said Sparrow, 'and overheard you two.  Some of our girls tell us they are good men, if strange in ways and somewhat over bearing.  But they have seen the boys and girls of their kind, and want such strong ones as that, those few that dare.'

Grandmother Elk said to Lightning Eye, 'It will happen, swift one, not quickly, no, but it will come.  There have been some of their ailments show up with us and some of ours with them and that will not pass easily.  What they know of the doing we also need to know now that they are here.  They are like you and me, under all of what is created for the sun, but they are of harder place and fit that.  So we must fit the hardships that made them strong to be like them and survive.'

Mohegan Sachem nodded, 'With just a hand of them and not full grown they already impress deeply.  Yet that same hand reaches out in peace, and I will not have my people's blood spilled because of my fear.  If they can show such bravery to greet the unknown happily and, then be ready to take to arms against it if it goes against them, then why would I invite that?  We will get those with less good temper and send them to be trained.  Seeing those boys near men I know they will be cooler than many of mine ever will.'

'There will be challenges, Lightning Eye, do not doubt that.  Some will die because they think they know better than these strangers,' said Running Wolf.  The other Sachem nodded, 'But they do give back to make up, that is what I have heard.'  Dawn Sparrow leaned her hands nearer the dying flames of their fire, 'In good faith, yes.  They also tell of one who got payment on bad faith and it was poured molten into him.  And yet he got his payment.'   Massamiot felt a cold shiver go down him, 'Molten metal... I do not think I could survive that.'

Their talking trailed off as the maker of Dreams bade them enter to his realm, and the next dawn saw the longboat with dragon prow leave their village and go to the land of the Mattabesic.  Here they were met by the Great Sachem Waummennen who was known as Black Deer to his people by his younger name.  There did Sachem Quessam give his welcome and day of greeting declared.  All the games done before with Mohegans would be done again, with even wrestling and competition on spears for trials of distance and target.

It was in the gift giving that Eric Three Lands gave Waummennen a coat of ring mail in the Red Leather, made with local hide but ring stock brought with Harald.  With that also came the padding beneath and Waummennen saw that Eric's armor was not as fine as his, although much more worn and its older cast and colors showed it to be no stranger to battle.  Great Sachem gave to Eric the foods and stock that would be so needful until the first crops did come, along with pelts and canoes to carry them, even with young men to leave with them when that time arrived, to ensure the goods safe haven.

From Eric then came gifts of axe and spear and arrow heads, and one old staff with simple cap ends, but the staff polished to show the living wood. 'This is my second staff of many voyages, with the first here by my side.  They are the brothers made from Old Land Stock and served on many a travel.  I give to you, Great Sachem, my twinned staff in care, so that we may know that brotherhood and our enemies beware.'  In his armor and such staff, and his crafters seeing such great goods, the people were impressed when Eric rolled out smoked fish and deer, along with brined capture from the sea.  Also came the last cask of the small beer, well watered to be tempered to the local tastes and the greetings of day moved to the feast of evening for nearly all involved.

'Eric from Lands Three, be welcome with my people and all the of all tribes and kinds we are, from the Cold Dawn Sea to South Warm Estuary.  I have heard the stories of you, told by those passing from Wampanoag coast and the terrible deed with the Nauset, but kindness in making deep amends.  Your ways are strange but not unknown, for other Fierce Peoples have we met.' Said Great Sachem for his kind as first amongst Sachems, his leadership respected.  He held the staff and wore the armor and felt himself the deep trust that went with them.

'So I am, Great Sachem Waummennen and do but ask in kind, who is that you keep guarded beyond the circle of the light?  His cast is strange and appearance different, is he not of your peoples, Great Sachem?'  From the circle of light Black Deer looked to the man in bindings, kept so his arms in back could not work free and also shackled to great tree. 'No he is one from the peoples that harry us in north and west, and the Sachem of the Pocumtuc.  He is man of the Irrikwa people his tribe known as Mohawk.  The fierce people of gorge and tree and fearless in all endeavors.'

'What be his fate?' ask young Lars and Eric nodded glancing to him.  'So I ask too, Great Sachem, what is his end to be?'  Great Sachem Waummennen turned to look with disdain upon the Irrikwa Mohawk. 'That is a scout by Silver Cloud name and we have sent word some triple hands of days to his people that we have him.  They have told us the blood runs cold in him towards us, and that they let us do with him to make amends for those slain.'  Eric nodded and stood to walk over to the Scout who did stand as Eric did approach.  In somewhat halting speech, Eric did bade him greeting.

'Silver Cloud of Mohawk do you know my prior name?'  The fierce one now shorn of his war trappings and down to barest leather covering, stood somewhat shorter than did Eric, but did not flinch or back away. 'You are new to me, and only name of Eric Three Lands known, from beyond the sea and rainbow.'  Eric then did nod and smiled slightly such. 'By prior name was I outcast and harried twice away, then no peace could I find, so I came west for three lands more.'

'Outcast?' asked the Scout, 'How can that be?'  Eric lowered his voice so softly that even guards could not over hear, but related the words later, so they be known here. 'My name before was Eric the Red slayer and kinslayer so accused, but Lawgivers did not balance scales and justice was abused.  That my hands are red there was no doubt, but slaying was not done without the asking for those who would cross me in deals most unfair.'  Eric drew breath and the Scout shuddered once knowing this Eric could kill without compunction, and yet only did so for reason.

'Then be known Eric of Three Lands that these people have skulked in fights with us, and deprived me of kin and took my sibs and now I come back to haunt them.'  Eric laid hand upon his shoulder and looked deep into his eyes, 'Not without cause, but unsupported do I see, and outcast to your fate, such will it ever be.  After second time I took decision and stepped away from path, and made anew to only find final strife in new home.  So for three lands more I came to expunge the strife and keep those with me safe.'

Cocking his head to one side did Silver Cloud look at Eric, and felt the warmth of hand once blooded, now cool against his skin. 'After that, twice, you sought to make anew?  And then again to go three lands for peace?'  Slowly Eric did do breathe and said very softly, 'I will not kill those I care for even when they are misguided, so as to stop that I outcast myself and would now start the Common Law for all to be under and clear reasons given to use it.  Now I make peace within my heart and seek others to help me in that and me to them.'

With that the Scout shuddered deeply and hard once more, and deep softly did he speak so even Eric had ear to his mouth. 'My peoples troubled, Eric Red Hand of the Three Lands, and the stories are passed of the Eastern One who would be born afar and know of the Great Waters.  We had always thought that to be our inland seas but you... from the East a warrior on Great Waters come to make the peace within himself and others.  Are you that one?'

Only to his ear did Eric whisper, 'I am but a man who seeks the better way.  Hand in friendship to those who help, and hand in war to those opposed, give good and see what is returned and judge the man on that.  No favorites will be played, but earnest indication needed and wrath if treacherously betrayed.  I am a Viking.'  The Scout nodded knowing that the foretold would not have fate reveal to him until the full work known.  But as a man Eric Three Lands stood as one he could understand.

'I would join you, Eric of Three Lands, my peoples need such peace.'  With two hands on his shoulders Eric did softly say, loud enough to be heard, 'Do you give peace to the Wampanoag, Mohegan and all their kin and peoples for it is first for peace to be found inside you before you can help to build it otherwise?'  As if sudden chill did come the Scout did say, 'Yes, my peace to be given to the Wampanoag and their kin and peoples, and to the Viking peoples led by Eric of Three Lands.'  Eric's hands slid from the Scout's shoulders and spoke yet once again, 'One last night in bindings to ensure you understand what it is you seek, for the heat inside needs to cool and show the final form of the man inside.  Many will not trust you, so betray not your peace in any way or no ends of Earth and Sky will hide you from me.'

'I will do as you say, Eric Three Lands, and tell you how the fires go in morning and let you know for true.  Tis hard to give up such hate, but you show it can be done.'  The Great Sachem had heard some of this and came to stand beside Eric with many another around him from both local and Viking people. 'Will you do this for both our peoples, Silver Cloud of Mohawk?  Give us peace with you so you do not get final peace?'  The Scout worked his way to the leather spread on the ground for him.

'It is much to do and feel, and Eric has the wisdom to let the winds in my self calm and see how the fire goes.  Then I can say if it be final peace or the working peace of much harder path.'  Eric nodded and turned, 'Cold night to bare the soul.  Just like some Northern Peoples.  We will know in morning of how the heat doth stir.'  Great Sachem nodded and walked with Eric and looked to him. 'What did you promise such a one?' he did ask. 'A hard life to work on and to give up quick fire for the long scout into wastelands of all such fires and start to build anew.'

At the fire they took up former places and Great Sachem spoke once more. 'There are the stories traded from south and south and sough again, from peoples there who foretell of the Dragon Borne.  The Great Peace Maker, of which Irrikwa speak.'  Eric raised his hand, 'I am no great peace maker upon the lands, I leave that to others.  I make the good peace for hearth and home and kin and friend.  The good peace of good life.  And to those who oppose, they will find war given in terrible return.  From the shores of Circled Ocean touching Byzantium to Steppes to Frozen Lands, I am one of those come here to start new life and make it known that only war comes to those who bring me strife.'

Great Sachem spoke, 'And those who follow, as I've heard, will abide by such saying?  Come to live here and be held to that for all?'  Eric did nod, 'For that Law holds all who come to be under it within it.  We can entreat with those who practice other ways, as is done in Old Lands, but this one starts out with those who will not take to just Clan Law alone.  That day ended for me when I left, and Common Law as seen in some lands starts here afresh.  I care not for clan or tribe or any other thing, but safe Law for all to be protected.'

Great Sachem nodded, lips pressed, 'Eric you are harder than that iron capped staff, to ask so much and seek so much.  And yet you say others will follow?'  Eric looked at him, 'You have heard of how our fighting goes, tens, hundreds, thousands at a time.  That war comes to large Isles home of tens of hands of thousands, war waged by Viking Powers in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, they will come to those Isles and those hard put, bereft of clan and kin, sick of war, know there is a haven here, should they dare to find it.  Olaf has sent word of new Common Law land and that no clan gets preference and every man given his due. They will come year on year on year as the flames of Islands jump south.  But for so far away we will be haven, and reject the war thats brought.'

Looking at the eyes looking at him, Great Sachem did speak anew, 'While our lands can take some few, that will not be enough I fear.  I will talk with brother Sachems in area to the west, as we are from them and with the Wampanoag made peace some generations past.  I would bid you to see them with my honors for you to see our lands and find haven to be settled.'  Eric nodded, 'This be good and those first come from Jorvik will know of hard work and trade.  A place for them to settle in the coming years that lets them do both and undisturbed be best.'  Then did Wampanoag say, 'The Wappani of the Burial Grounds are the ones to know, as what you do is most like them as I have heard it told.'

On next day did Eric awake to hear from Silver Cloud disclaim, 'Mine peace to all Pocumtuc, Mattabesic, Mohegan, Wampanoag, Wappani and your kin and cousins.  I will fight no more unless attacked and would bind oath to Eric's people.'  For such was this transformed man who was once haughty with the wind, no cold and with more than morn, those of the Mattabesic asked him many a question, but to all he banked no fires nor hidden hate for he had seen where the Red Handed one made life anew and promised hard work to any who helped in that task, and it be an equal task for all.

'Then I give my word to those I have befriended amongst all of these people known to me, that I will answer for Silver Cloud if he transgresses and he will be hounded in all this life if he crosses that word ever on me,' said Eric Three Lands once of the Red name, and they saw that there was no hate, just the promise to do that deed if need be.  For Viking Word is Honor and the cold north air did settle lightly around the leader Eric.  Great Sachem Waummennen turned to the Mohawk, 'Your peace I accept for all who know me, as first of Sachems.  Your word is bond to us with Eric, and know his people have wrath unending for those that cross them hard.'

Silver Cloud did nod, 'I will serve our common peace and work such with my people.  I invite those who would come to journey with me to know this can be done.'  Eric stepped up to him, 'I will offer travel with you, but first the Wappani I must meet.  Then from there you guide those who would come to know of better peace between our peoples.'  That day be spent in deciding those to go on and those needed to go back, but for Eric and his men of the longboat, it would be forward with them all.

Next day did Massamiot and Grandmother Sparrow of the Wampanoag leave with Mohegans through the forest, while Great Sachem sent Grandmother Elk of the many children to be his talker to afar and settle such things as her wisdom bade.  For he did abide by her great wisdom and ability to see, the hearts of others in lands distant from his own.  Thus did longboat leave with local help to follow as Eric journeyed to Wappani and the Burial Grounds of all the Peoples.

So ends the story from those who remembered of the First Spring of Eric Three Lands seeking peace.


From Scroll of The Coming ( partial early deciphering of the Toltec Tollan script:

[begin fragment]

...As from east and as Dragon came matz payaal sak winik k'aba' Eric.

Word of spread from time of landing,

Did the old Quetzl not know of it?

New coming of bakaba winik k'aba' Eric brought Tollan,

In peace did visit Ajawa naal Wa-ap-pa-ni.

Arts and know did bakaba winik k'aba' Eric bring,

As foretold by all the stories.

Fierce and Tollan were his naal people,

Chak'ek-chel-kab nahhila  was their source.

Dragon jukuub and they sak winik,

Fierce of Nature seek Peace.

Homage dead with Ajawa naal Wa-ap-pa-ni,

matz payaal sak winik k'aba' Eric went to Five Peoples.

Hatchet buried and Tollan to teach with Ir-ra-ak-wa,

matz payaal sak winik k'aba' Eric and chi'lam k'aba' Silver Cloud did come.

Old Quetzl knew of haabil haab ha'ha'al,

Wetter lands, poor harvests, unrest.

Ajawal to nohol knew worse,

Old arts failed with Tollan lost.

Heard of under Yellow Sun before Planting,

Good omen before end of months.

Thus old Quetzl last of days,

Sent k'aba' Quetlutl to Ajawa Eric on new year.

From sending day...

[end fragment]

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